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Statement from Bea Bruske on the death of Alexa McDonough

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OTTAWA, Jan. 15, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labor Congress, issued the following statement today:

“It is with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Alexa McDonough, a true Canadian political giant. On behalf of Canada’s unions, I offer our sincere condolences to her sons, Justin and Travis, and to all the friends and family she leaves behind who will feel her loss so deeply.

“There is not a woman in Canadian politics or public life who is not indebted to the pioneering role that Alexa played. When she won the leadership of the Nova Scotia NDP in 1980 – and became the first woman to lead a recognized major political party in Canada – she gave us an example that so many young women could follow. Not just to be at the table, but to lead it.

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It was not an easy road. When they were first elected to the Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly, there were no women’s washrooms for MLAs. But instead of complaining to the media, Alexa went back to the legislature and spoke about the issues she heard about from the women who waited with her to use public restrooms.

For those of us in the labor movement, we will always be grateful for his strong defense of workers’ rights, fair wages and safer working conditions. His work to pass the Westray Bill continues to benefit workers today. The trade union movement will mark the 30 and anniversary of the Westray legislation this year and the words of Alexa, spoken in the House of Commons in 2003, the day the Westray Bill received Royal Assent, are still at the heart of the labor movement’s struggle:

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The Westray bill is a victory for workers across Canada and caps 11 years of work by New Democrats in solidarity with the families of mine disaster victims, Westray survivors, steelworkers and other labor partners . This brings us one step closer to ensuring that companies are held accountable for irresponsible working conditions that end up costing workers their lives.

Alexa was someone who had a lot of dedication and never hesitated to work hard or fight hard. From her work as a teenager to bring attention to community conditions from Africville to Halifax, to elected office and leadership roles at the provincial and federal levels, to decades of activism on so many important issues, she has truly blazed an impressive trail.

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Both in the provincial NDP and at the federal level, it is no coincidence that the leaders who followed her both had decisive successes and became leader of the official opposition. She laid the foundation for so many of us.

After stepping down as leader of the federal NDP, she stayed on to serve under new leader Jack Layton as the party’s foreign affairs critic, assuming a leadership role in the defense of peace and the international work. After leaving politics, she became president of Mount Saint Vincent University and was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Unions worked to help honor her in 2013, raising funds to ensure Alexa’s contributions are permanently recognized at Mount Saint Vincent’s Alexa McDonough Institute for Women, Gender and Social Justice . Such a fitting tribute for someone who gave so much of herself to help others.

Canadian Labor Congress
www.canadianwork.ca

Statement from Bea Bruske on the death of Alexa McDonough Statement from Bea Bruske on the death of Alexa McDonough

Statement from Bea Bruske on the death of Alexa McDonough

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